Takes on Industry Happenings

After spending a good part of my summer caddying in Scotland and the U.S., I’ve decided to come clean on what really happens out on the course when a caddy is involved.

Dear Golfer:

I lied to you. It’s what caddies do.

You know on the sixth hole how I told you that you had 150 yards to the pin and you hit 7-iron hole-high right about 20 feet? You had less than 140 yards to the hole. You have no understanding of how far you hit the ball. It took watching six of your swings on the range to realize you hit all your clubs at least 15 yards less than you think you do.

You know how on the par 5 you hit that really good blind third shot (after duffing your second) that ended up 10 yards short of the green and dead at the flag? I aimed you well right of what you thought was your target line. I was amazed to discover that after 30 years of golfing you still don’t realize that when you have an uphill lie you pull the ball severely, and that’s because you get stuck on your backside and throw at the shot with your hands.

Remember that double-breaking putt of about 40 feet that stopped a few rolls short of the hole? That was great, wasn’t it? You read the putt not nearly enough outside the right edge of the cup, but I told you it was a good aiming point because you push your long putts way off line, a result of not staying steady. Honestly, I haven’t seen that much movement on a man’s lower body since Elvis Presley’s ’68 Comeback Special.

It took me three holes to deduce that about your putting stroke. The other guy’s caddy noticed that trait in you after two holes. I was raking the bunker from which it took you four shots to extricate yourself when he made that discovery.

You were right, though, that time you missed the 5-foot putt for birdie and the match on 18 it wasn’t your fault. The ball did bounce off line. No, it was not caused by the superintendent’s ineptness. He aerifies the greens the same time every year as part of the regular maintenance program. No, sending a terse letter to the green chairman will not end the practice.

Oh, one other revelation. We all lied to your group about the forecast, saying it was supposed to be really windy. That’s the only way we could get you guys to play the yellow tees, and we knew those were the right ones after watching you guys spray it all over the driving range.

None of you had any business playing the whites (Did I really hear someone mention going back to the blues?), and if the wind had come up while you were on the whites, we’d still be searching for golf balls on the front nine.

As it was, on a calm day from the yellows, not one of you came anywhere near playing to your handicaps.

I don’t want you to feel bad about the untruths you’ve been told. Most caddies do it. We have to. You and most of your fellow golfers have a completely unrealistic view of your game.

I know you are a 12 handicap, but that has more to do with the fact that you play the same course week after week – and you and your buddies regularly give each other 3-foot putts – than with your golf acumen. If I were playing you for money, I’d make you putt out everything that’s farther away from the hole than 11 inches.

By the way, you don’t hit your drive 240 to 250 yards and carry it about 215 yards. The day you hit a drive that goes 240 yards and the hole isn’t downhill, downwind and the fairway firm is the day I hang up my caddie bib.

You had fun, though, right? That was our goal. We do everything we can, in fact, to ensure that happens. It’s why we show you the various islands off the coast and take you to the best viewing spots on the golf course and point out the rare moths and orchids. It’s why we ask about your children and laugh at your crazy stories.

Our goal, you see, is to do everything we can to help you play your best game of golf and enjoy the day.

So we lie.

Kind regards,

Your Caddie